Nov 11, 2009

OK folks, we rang in Nov. 5, Guy Fawkes Day with a website bonfire, filled with stories of celebrations past. Do you remember the ones held at the old town site? Well some did and they shared their shenanigans.


Happy Guy Fawkes Day. Or as we used to say "It's bonfire night ". This day was always such a special day when we lived on the Army Side. We would start collecting as soon as we started back to school in September, going out 2, 3 or 4 nights a week gathering up "burnable stuff" . It was hauled down to the "pit" and hid in the surrounding woods until the night or two before Bonfire night, when it would be piled up in the "pit ".

Mom was never happy on bonfire night because we would come home smelling of smoke and soot on our clothes.

Really Faye, today brings back memories, lots of great memories.

Morley Smith, GA Class of 1959


Listen Morley, no need to bring the matches, Jane Dempsey tells me that she would start a fire by rubbing two sticks together. She was a Girl Guide and knew her way around the woods. Where was she when I needed her?

Faye Lewis Raynard, GA Class of 1959


Interesting to see Morley’s remarks on Bonifire nite on the Armyside. According to some of the old Airport firefighters which I have talked to, we used to have one of the biggest on the Rock and this has been told to them by the Pilots of International Flights who used to land on the runaway close to the Baseball field right next to the road to the Armyside.

I can remember one yr. that the DOT Maint. garage gave us approx. 100 old truck tires. The fire burned for at least 10 to 12 Days. Thanks for the memories about the Armyside. God Bless .

Roy (Eric) Sceviour. GA Class of 1959


Guy Fawkes night was the culmination of days of scrounging/stealing anything burnable, of which there were many highlights including the consumption of baked\charred potatoes that were tossed in amongst  the inferno and roasted to a charred crisp in the embers. You'd go home hair singed, hands and clothes blackened  with a face that was heat burned (i.e like you were in the Hawaiian sun all day with no sun bloc) showing the remnants of blackened potatoes around your chops!

How sweet it was!

Angus Taylor, GA Class of 1962


Re Bonfire night.  When we were young kids and before Gander got too over run with families and kids, the military personnel used to send a bus for all of us kids and take us down to what we referred to as "Burner Hill" on the way down to Gander Lake.  There they treated us to one of the biggest bonfires imaginable and treats.  They made a real party out of the night for us.  We were fascinated and the adults ensured our safety by keeping us a safe distance from the fire.  The bonfire always contained an effigy of Guy Fawkes.

Privately, and when Chris and his girls were young, Austin's brother in law who lived on Memorial Drive and had lots of land behind his house made that land the site of a large bonfire.  We roasted apples and marshmallows and baked potatoes, etc., on that fire and drank hot chocolate - and yes, we stank when we got home and were covered in ash and soot from head to toe. We were also frozen half to death and thawed out in a nice warm bath.

Growing up in Gander was an experience afforded very few children no matter their original hometown.  We were so fortunate and blessed.  I guess the reason for all the parties and good times shown us original Gander children were bestowed on us because so many of the military personnel were lonely and missing their own families.  You could say, the "adopted us" when needed.

Patricia Dempsey Hiscock, GA Class of  1956


Actually, it's still alive and well in NL.  We were invited to one last night (in Cornerbrook) just to the west of town.  In fact, the town Council has one every year at the Centennial Field in the centre of the community.  Crowds of people - always reminds me of years ago in Gander, Morley.  Not the same excitement though - no tires - only old wood and brush - only flash fires. 

Guy Fawkes::::Ahhhh, for the old days - potatoes thrown in and burnt up - soot and dirt all over our new winter coats and boots - tongue banging from our mothers when we got home - smooching in the dark - sneaking around backs of houses and taking wood horses and old tires for fuel - stoking the ashes of the fire for days after Guy Fawkes night to keep it going for about a week - playing dumb when questioned by our fathers about things missing and no doubt burnt - and then laying plans for a bigger and better fire for the next year.  If kids did that today, the Mounties would be going crazy for weeks and business at Tim Horton's would hit an all time low.  Fun, though - wasn't it?

Ron Mosher, GA Class of 1959


Hey next topics are ‘jackknives’ and Boy Scout and Girl Guide memories? Share your stories or even a tidbit with our website gang. All comments welcome. Just email Faye : and webster will help get us posted. Also welcome pictures of anything you’d like to share. Thanks all. Faye